Sunday, February 7, 2010

iAutoCalc iPhone App!

It's time to introduce the iPhone app I mentioned in this post.  I have submitted iAutoCalc to the app store for review and am now waiting for a response.  So what exactly is iAutoCalc?

My idea with iAutoCalc was to provide a tool that someone could use during the real-time, in the dealership negotiation process of buying or leasing a car.  I looked at other loan calculators that were already on the app store and while they did fine job at calculating a loan or lease, they did not make it as easy as I would like to tinker with the numbers and be able to quickly negotiate a price.  Dealers tend to talk fast and loose with numbers and I wanted an app that could work just as fast to keep them honest.

There are two main screens in iAutoCalc.  The first is the buy screen:


At first glance this appears to be a standard car loan calculation screen, but there are some differences that make it a better fit during a real-time negotiation.  Instead of forcing a user to pick a length of the loan, the analysis screen shows the four common loan lengths so the user can see at a glance the difference in terms.  Also, the user will notice + and - buttons next to each of the input fields.  These buttons allow the user to change the input fields by a configurable amount so the user can quickly play with numbers during a real time negotiation.  The price, down payment, and interest rate are all individually configurable.  They can be configured as dollar amounts (+/- $1000 for example) or as percentages.

The second screen is the lease calculator:


Leases are often hidden behind a lot of magic numbers that the dealer tries to keep secret.  For example, the money factor is a number that is used to calculate monthly interest on a lease.  No matter what the lease terms are an interest rate can generally be found by multiplying the money factor by 2400.  The lease calculator screen does this calculation for the user, and also breaks down the parts of a lease payment to give the user the information needed to make an informed choice.  Like the buy screen the user can quickly adjust price and residual value and immediately see how it changes the lease cost.

The Tips views lists some useful car buying negotiation tips that I have learned while buying cars.  If anyone has other tips they want to share I will add them to app in the next update.

I want to credit app-bits for their free icon set where I found the calculator and gear icons.

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